A Grisby Square parking lot slipped out of bed early Saturday morning, April 1, coming alive with people juggling sacks of freshly picked carrots, jars of homemade salsa verde and steaming-off-the-griddle corn cake arepas as they strolled through with the grounds of the newly harvested Energy Corridor Farmer’s Market.
Inaugural day for the new farmer’s market was an exciting one for The Energy Corridor District, whose team has long envisioned Grisby Square as a community gathering place, not just one of Houston’s more unique dining and entertainment destinations. And gather people did, as they enjoyed the festive setting and several delights from artisan food makers, local farmers, food trucks and some interesting animals shared by the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (TWRC).
The new Energy Corridor Farmer’s Market will awaken Grisby Square every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. during April, May and June, and return for the fall season on Saturdays from September to December 2. The market comes alive in the parking lot at Grasshopper Ln. and Grisby Rd. in Grisby Square off Highway 6 and IH-10.
Greg Travis, Houston City Council Member District G, christened the Energy Corridor Farmer’s Market with opening remarks, extolling the market as one more virtue of living in West Houston.
“A farmer’s market is needed in The Energy Corridor, and Grisby Square is a great location to host one,” says Clark Martinson, executive director for The Energy Corridor District which organized the market. “To be able to buy locally farmed produce and handcrafted artisan goods in a convenient location heightens livability here. But we also hope the farmer’s market can become a place for the community to gather. To meet. To relax under the sprawling live oak trees.”
Vendors selling wares on opening day brought carrots, greens and fruit; cakes, pies, cookies, snacks and Mexican pralines; locally harvested honey, seafood and beef; small farm, freshly roasted Columbian coffee; red and green salsas, dill-packed pickles and more. Artisans brought candles, aroma therapy and other crafts. Food trucks served up slow-smoked Texas barbeque and Venezuelan arepas piled high with pulled pork or eggs. And kids from six to 60 savored handmade ice pops which brought a new twist to Saturday brunch.
Evolving Grisby Square into a community destination is part of The District’s master plan. The District is working with Hospitality USA (HUSA) – which owns the popular Watson’s Pub in Grisby Square – to develop a pocket park under some stately live oaks. Two years ago, The District turned a block of Fortsmith Street in Grisby Square into a woonerf, a shared street that slows traffic and has a permeable surface to reduce the impact of storm water drainage.
On opening day for the farmer’s market, three park benches were installed, two of them painted by local students, near the market location.
Sarah McDonner, The District’s Communications and Outreach Coordinator, with the help of Connie Vallone and Francine Speiring, recruited the variety of vendors to the market and worked out the logistics of taking over a parking lot with Grisby Square property owners. The District also hired a market manager, Ellen Dortenzo, to work with vendors and help grow the Energy Corridor Farmer’s Market.
Vendors can join the Saturday morning market by contacting Dortenzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plans are in the works to expand the market, with live music and other events. In the meantime, West Houstonians can now enjoy a Grisby Square awakened on Saturday mornings. To see all the event photos visit the Energy Corridor District Facebook page here.